Initial Impressions of FIFA 13 on Wii U

Posted November 20th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

FIFA 13 on the Nintendo Wii U offers a satisfying overall experience but inherently the unique features of the system are not completely natural to take advantage of during free-flowing gameplay. It looks and runs beautifully with the new hardware but a few features and gameplay enhancements are notable in their absence. Still this might be the best sports game available to go along with the launch of the system. 

The appeal with the Wii U, at least when compared to the 360 and PS3 versions of FIFA 13, comes with the tablet controller. It offers the ability to take advantage of touch screen shooting, passing, tackling, and team management tasks. While the functions work as intended they don’t always make sense within the context of the game. Check out screens from the tutorial here.

The biggest issue that arises is the need to take eyes off the action in order to use the touch screen or make desired changes. There is no way to avoid that when looking down at the tablet and pulling up another screen that obscures the action there as well. Functions like shaking the pad to bring up a “net” allowing for the touch selection of shot aim is difficult to do elegantly when attempting to get into position for the opportunity. Touch screen passing or tackling though is handled really well. What works best is when the action stops for free, penalty, or corner kicks as full concentration can then be directed to the touch screen without neglecting everything else.

There are three options for control configurations. “Classic”, “Alternate”, and “Two Button”. Otherwise the control schemes are not customizable. For the most part they translate pretty well but there will be a learning curve due to the different mapping and hand placement.

Because the need to controls players in standard games makes it difficult to utilize the tablet controller fully Manage Mode is where the game shines on Wii U. Having all the options laid out on the touch screen is pretty much ideal. Making substitutions, monitoring performance, and changing formations and tactics are joined with the ability to assign actions to players without the constant need to move them around on the pitch manually.

Performance wise the game runs in excellent fashion. There is no issue with framerate (as was found in Madden NFL 13) and graphically is on par with the 360/PS3. Where it falters is in the number of omissions which essentially make it more like playing FIFA 12 with the tablet features than a true FIFA 13.

The “Impact Engine” physics system is not nearly as refined, there is no “First Touch” ball-handling system, Online Team Play and Skill Games are absent, and there is no Ultimate Team mode (no DLC system active yet on the Wii U probably explains why). These things will all stand out to anyone who’s played FIFA 13 on the other systems. For those who haven’t it may not matter all that much.

FIFA 13 is a strong launch effort that is worth considering for those who aren’t already dedicated fans of the series or would enjoy Manage mode with the tablet functionality at hand. However anyone who already owns or has spent a decent amount of time with the 360/PS3 version of FIFA the last two years will probably find the lack of gameplay improvements and other missing features too great to overlook.

  • Lindsay Deele

    To recap, Fifa 13 on the Wii U is missing a whole bunch of stuff, it looks about as good as the other console versions, the tablet controller hasn’t added anything special to the game, it may even take some of the fun out of playing it, overall it is just a satisfying experience to play, and yet it’s the best sports game available for the system. FAIL.

    But good luck to the early adapters of the Wii U console. Soon you’ll all be back to playing games on a ‘next gen’ console made by Sony and your Wii U will be trying its best to pull in a minimum of 100 bucks on Ebay. Don’t fake the funk.

    • Basically it’s a really good game unless you’re comparing it directly against the 360/PS3 version. Whether that’s a totally fair thing to judge it on I don’t know. If we’re just putting it up against launch titles from console’s past it’s far better than those offerings have been.

      I like the touch screen stuff situationally but it’s terrific for Manage mode. Still, I think the diehard soccer fan would easily prefer the 360/PS3 version because of the gameplay enhancements that are there. It’s definitely questionable though where the Wii U goes depending on how much it is adapted by consumers.

      • Lindsay Deele

        You have absolutely no choice but to compare it to all the other current console versions. Just like Madden NFL 13 before it, it’s very weak compared to the other console versions. And why in the hell wouldn’t that be a totally fair thing to judge it on? The question is who’s to blame, EA for the weak software, or Nintendo for the weak hardware?

        And to your other point, I can see exactly where the Wii U will go…it will go on Ebay in droves when the REAL next gen consoles come out. I also hope this gives you some indication of EA’s commitment to the extra screen technology also, before you write your next Xbox Smartglass article. Its gonna be more of the same old stuff as we see here on the Wii U, and it will also go absolutely NOWHERE. This extra screen stuff is pure gimmicky nonsense. Totally unnecessary to have 2 separate screens to look at, just to manage a darn sports game. What did we ever do before this nonsense came along. This isn’t being innovative, this is just the newest gimmick to fool people into thinking they’re trying out some new game experience. Its just kinda stupid actually. Why not just admit that when you buy a Wii U, it comes with a cheap plastic tablet controller to view Netflix on, while the kids are playing Wii U games on the tv. It has no usefulness as an extra game screen while playing games. That’s just the gimmick.

        We want the next gen, and this gimmicky crap definitely isn’t it. The next gen will start whenever the big dog Sony says it will. If I was Microsoft, I would release another broken next gen console as soon as its close to being ready, because Sony is gonna slap the next Xbox and this Wii U garbage, right in the face, when they launch their newest “next gen” system. You know its true. History will repeat itself again.

        • Lindsay Deele

          Gaming used to be sooo much fun. You could go to the arcades, drop a few quarters and have a ball. Then finally, the games came home. Nowadays they come with some of the dumbest stuff to trick people into thinking that this is next evolution of gaming. The Wii system was a affordable new take on gaming. “Motion controls”. Cool. Then Sony came along and improved the whole motion control experience that Nintendo started, with the much more accurate Move controller. If Nintendo was smart, they would have kept up the focus on motion gaming and would’ve come out with a “Wii 2 HD game system”. But noooooooooo….they had to try something totally new and totally unenjoyable with this new tablet screen nonsense. And what does Microsoft do? They come up with copycat SmartGlass technology just to compete with this new lame brain idea from Nintendo. I’m still wondering why you haven’t reviewed or even mentioned Sports Champions 1 or 2, for the Playstation Move? Pasta, if you’re biased against Sony, just say your biased against Sony. But at least show some kind of fucking integrity.

          • nobb

            lol sports champions. no one gives a shit.

      • mystic warrior

        Pasta~”Basically it’s a really good game unless you’re comparing it directly against the 360/PS3 version.”

        Pasta, are you kidding me? EA obviously didn’t do Nintendo any favors here.
        You know how developers always say to console makers, “give us the technology and resources we need to create beautiful worlds to play in, and we will blow your mind”. Well sir, either the Wii U just doesn’t cut it, resource wise, or EA is still just as lazy as fuck. This should have been a really unbelievable experience to play on a new launch console, AND IT IS NOT AN UNBELIEVABLE EXPERIENCE.


        Who is really to blame for this Pasta? Is this really the next gen? I don’t think so. Is EA gonna treat the REAL next gen like they just did with Nintendo? I totally think so. I doubt that there is hardly anything to look forward to from EA, when the next round of consoles come out. EA always stinks at launch games, and the games never seem to get much better after launch, despite all the resources and development time in the world.

        • mcmax3000

          “EA always stinks at launch games”

          Hate to break it to you, but most companies suck at launch games. That’s not anything specific to EA.

          Third party launch games are almost always rushed in development, because the developers don’t get early enough access to the dev kits from the console manufacturers, and they have a fixed deadline that they have to meet so they can get out along side the hardware launch.

          Just look at reviews for the majority of the rest of the third party launch titles for Wii U. For examples, I’ve heard AC3, ME3, and Epic Mickey 2 all run terribly on Wii U, likely because they were rushed out in time to meet launch.

  • cadd

    Im having fun with this game. I think youre right its hard to use the tablet at times but even just for free kicks I love that.

  • Lindsay Deele

    “Wii U ‘Has A Horrible, Slow CPU’ Says Metro Last Light Dev”

    Enough said.

    • KG

      It wasn’t too bad for Ubisoft to make Assassins Creed 3, EA to create Mass Effect 3, Activision to make a bad ass Call Of Duty. Even Namco figured it out after they figured out the Wii U has a GPGPU it can tap into. A GPGPU does some of the CPU work. Sounds like that Metro Last Light Developer doesn’t know what the hell their doing, or just too lazy. If u read that article it also mentions that they had the early development kit, time to update to the final development kit.